The search for a new CEO of the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals has begun.

For only the seventh time in its 56-year history, a new leader will sit at the helm of the Alexandria, Va.-based organization after Bill Weber retires in November 2013.

“We’re seeking a visionary, a consensus builder, somebody who can build bridges among the various organizations and segments of the industry,” said Lauren Stack, APSP director of industry relations.

In late October, the APSP Board of Directors announced it had established a selection committee chaired by Bruce Fisher, vice president of International at Hayward Pool Products and former chairman of the APSP Manufacturers Council.

The committee members, recruited by Fisher in August, include Joe Amato, owner, Amato Industries; Lawrence Caniglia, executive director, Northeast Spa & Pool Association; Mike Dunn, executive vice president, Watkins Manufacturing; Mike Giovanone, president/CEO, Concord Pools & Spas; Steve Gorlin, president/CEO, Gorlin Pools & Spas; Greg Howard, CEO, Carecraft; Mark Laven, president, Latham International; Michael Miller, president, Miller Pools; Martin Silver, president, Bel-Aqua Pool Supply; and Stack.

“The committee had to be representative of all constituencies, and we found a strong team to help us in this process,” Fisher said. “There is tremendous respect for those individuals.”

One of the group’s primary objectives is to identify and hire a search firm with a strong track record of recruiting candidates for high-ranking positions within an association, he said.

This is familiar territory for APSP, which utilized a firm’s service to ultimately hire Weber. “The committee in 2005 did a great job identifying a search firm partner and creating a job description,” Stack said. “We have a strong blueprint for the process, and I’m confident that it will be successful.”

To streamline the effort, Caniglia has been selected to lead a search firm subcommittee that will identify companies equipped to handle the task. The subcommittee is anticipated to appoint a search firm by the beginning of 2013, Stack explained.

A subcommittee in charge of budgets and one to oversee revising the job description also have been established.

Silver will lead the budget subcommittee, which will be responsible for overseeing costs associated with the recruitment process, including establishing the compensation package, determining any necessary relocation expenses and approving fees for the search firm.

Howard will chair the subcommittee responsible for writing a new job description for the CEO. The ideal candidate will have trade association experience, strong strategic planning and marketing skills, development strategies and communications expertise, Fisher said.

A new job description is necessary because the role of the CEO has evolved along with the industry, he added.

When Weber joined APSP in 2005, the organization was facing lawsuits and undergoing bankruptcy, so his legal background and government relations experience served the group well during a critical time.

However, the subsequent recession, the emphasis on remodeling and challenges from online competitors have transformed the environment in which the organization operates. To combat these issues, officials want a new CEO who will lead the association in talks regarding value-added services, dealer networks and the structure of main street dealers. The individual also will recognize the needs of APSP’s multiple constituencies and understand the differences between them from state to state.

“All organizations need to evolve to stay healthy. This is a unique time for the industry and the association because there have been some fundamental changes in the last five years,” Fisher noted.

Once the firm has been selected and a job description approved by the board of directors, the call for candidates will commence in late winter or early spring.

The search committee then will narrow down the candidates to two or three finalists, who will give presentations to the APSP board. The committee will make recommendations, but the APSP board will have the ultimate decision, Fisher said. The board plans to select a new CEO no later than its annual summer meeting.

“The association has an opportunity to bring in an individual who will hopefully have the skill set to take us through the next 10 years,” Fisher said.

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